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Top 10 Shameless Video Game Cash Grabs

Script written by Kurt Hvorup These guys really have no shame! Welcome to and today we’re counting down our list of the top 10 Shameless Video Game Cash Grabs. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!

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Top 10 Shameless Video Game Cash Grabs

We get that video games are a business, and businesses aim to make money, but sometimes the whole things just reads as desperate and obvious. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our list of the top 10 Shameless Video Game Cash Grabs.

For this list we’re examining the games that were seemingly developed with the least effort possible in order to generate maximum profits for the publisher. Since we’ve covered titles known specifically for predatory microtransactions and DLC practices in the past, we’re excluding such games from the list. This means the likes of 2017’s “Star Wars Battlefront II”, however contemptible, won’t be appearing here.

#10: “Radical Heights” (2018)

Turns out chasing trends and straining to keep one’s company afloat don’t exactly mix well. That’s certainly how it looks with “Radical Heights”, the game show-themed battle royale title being developed by Boss Key Productions. Promoted as being very early-in-development, it drew little excitement due to its plethora of bugs and uninspired design elements. Not helping matters is the fact that “Radical Heights” was announced not long after the financial losses and player haemorrhaging of Boss Key’s previous game “LawBreakers”. With Boss Key shutting down as of May 2018, it’s safe to say this project didn’t pan out.

#9: “Evolve” (2015)

When it launched, this four-versus-one beast hunting game from Turtle Rock Studios definitely showed promise yet felt strangely lacking in content. Looking back to its promotion, the reasoning becomes clear: Turtle Rock and publisher 2K spent much of their time shilling the pre-order bonuses ahead of the actual game. In-game Monsters and Hunters were being sold well before “Evolve” hit store shelves, with Turtle Rock themselves saying the game was designed with DLC implementation and sales in mind. With “Evolve” getting multiple special editions and a Season Pass on top of all that, it became crystal clear how steeped in industry malarkey this game was.

#8: “Capcom Fighting Evolution” (2004)

Sometimes what’s broken can’t be fixed – such is the case with “Capcom Fighting Evolution”. Known outside of North America as “Capcom Fighting Jam”, the game draws upon various Capcom mascots and brings them together to battle one another in two-on-two fights. All well and good in theory... but the game’s blend of awkward controls and underwhelming character design proved divisive. It’s been heavily speculated that “Fighting Evolution” was actually a salvage job, constructed from the mechanics and art work left over from the abandoned project “Capcom Fighting All-Stars”. Regardless, it doesn’t look good when Capcom puts out a product that feels so much like an exploitation of fan appeal and audience goodwill.

#7: “Final Fantasy All The Bravest” (2013)

Square’s landmark role-playing franchise might have its ups and downs, but this feels like an especially noteworthy low for them. “All The Bravest” seemed promising in concept – a mobile reworking of classic “Final Fantasy” combat mechanics, with many of the franchise’s most beloved characters as selectable party members. Unfortunately, at release people were greeted with a repetitive, grind-heavy experience where one’s party could be utterly wiped out in seconds yet took several minutes to respawn... unless you spend cash. Further more, the advertised legacy characters were walled off behind a randomized shop system, creating a drive to spend more money and maybe get one’s party of choice.

#6: “Animal Crossing amiibo Festival” (2015)

Such a cute world... not so cute business decisions. Deviating from the home renovation and town management of past titles, “Animal Crossing amiibo Festival” was pitched more as a variation on the party game model popularized by “Mario Party”. It certainly doesn’t lack for charm in its characters and visuals, but the game faltered when it came to providing quality minigames and a consistently engaging mood. It became apparent that the game was made more as a means of selling Nintendo’s signature Amiibo figurines than as a genuinely worthwhile creative endeavour. Hell, the director of “amiibo Festival” freely admitted that the Amiibos were a factor in the game’s development – not that the honesty makes it any more acceptable.

#5: “Dungeon Keeper” (2014)

Way to drive a beloved IP into the dirt, Electronic Arts. Yes, few are keen to forget when EA sought to reboot “Dungeon Keeper” as an allegedly free-to-play mobile game. Launching in January 2014, it soon drew scorn for the way the series’ beloved dark humour and carefully considered strategy gameplay were mangled by the demands of a monetization-first business model. Any action undertaken could last over 24 real-world hours, only speeding up by spending an in-game gem currency... which you could naturally buy with real money. Between the disrespect paid to the source material and the cloying usage of microtransactions, this was an out-and-out disgrace.

#4: “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” (2018)

Many longtime fans of the “Harry Potter” books and wider franchise were ecstatic by the prospect of a mobile title that dealt with the life and times of their own personalized Hogwarts student. “Hogwarts Mystery” quickly showed its hand as a clear-cut exploiter of those very hopes and nostalgic dreams. Its core gameplay loop of tapping on-screen prompts to progress is built upon Energy currency, which can be earned in game or – you guessed it – purchased instantly with real dollars. Per the free-to-play stereotype, “Hogwarts Mystery” contrives situation after situation where players are drained of Energy points, with wait times sufficiently infuriating so as to make a quick cash injection seem reasonable. The infamous Devil’s snare segment comes to mind, which forces players to buy enough energy to escape, or wait and watch their character be strangled. For shame, Mr. Potter, for shame.

#3: “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes” (2014)

Once upon a time, a glorified prologue wouldn’t have served as a full-fledged “Metal Gear” game. “Ground Zeroes” fell victim to the push for more profit, being the first of two games that encompassed the full “Metal Gear Solid V” experience. From its central plot being incredibly brief and controversial in content, to its side missions acting as shallow fluff, the entirety of “Ground Zeroes” felt superfluous to players. In interviews prior to the game’s release, series creator Hideo Kojima claimed that the decision to release “Ground Zeroes” was made in light of development taking so long on “The Phantom Pain”. Not a great move, in retrospect.

#2: “Metal Gear Survive” (2018)

There had to be a better way to try and live up to Kojima Productions’ efforts, right? Konami’s first “Metal Gear” game after the departure of Hideo Kojima aimed to present a clear and enticing vision for the series’ future. What the gaming public received was “Metal Gear Survive”, a post-apocalyptic survival game rooted in current design fads and built on borrowed assets from “Metal Gear Solid V”. Many found “Survive” to be not only tiresome and lackluster, but also a lazy cash-in on lingering goodwill for “Metal Gear”. And let’s not even get into Konami’s inclusion of a microtransaction-based currency and selling of save slots for real-world money...

#1: “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered” (2016)

Well... this was a debacle. 2016’s “Infinite Warfare” was already on its way to universal derision thanks to a widely-panned announcement trailer. However, matters did not improve when said trailer also declared the highly-anticipated remaster of “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” would only be available with special editions of “Infinite Warfare”. Many considered the decision to lock off “Modern Warfare Remastered” in this fashion to be a cynical and manipulative one, motivated by publisher Activision’s push for constant rising profits. Later details – like added microtransactions and selling a decade-old map pack for a higher price – only further soured opinions and reinforced the image of a publisher driven by pure greed.

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